What is Cosmetic Gum Augmentation?
A gum augmentation is a common dental procedure often performed following a tooth extraction to help recreate the natural contour of the gums and jaw. This is accomplished with bone grafting or gum transplantation.
The alveolar ridge of the jaw is the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. When a tooth is removed, an empty socket is left in the alveolar ridge bone. Usually this empty socket will heal on its own, filling with bone and tissue. Sometimes when a tooth is removed, the bone surrounding the socket breaks or shrinks upon healing. The previous height, width and shape of the gum contours are lost creating an indentation in the gums. So when a replacement tooth is added the crown of the tooth must be enlarged to fill the space. The result is usually a tooth that is disproportional to the other teeth affecting the appearance of the teeth and smile.
Rebuilding the original height and width of the alveolar ridge is not medically necessary, but can dramatically improve the aesthetic of the replacement teeth.
How is the Surgery Accomplished?
A ridge augmentation is accomplished by placing bone graft material in the tooth socket at the time of tooth removal to minimize shrinkage of the bone and gums. Next, the gum tissue is placed over the socket or separately and secured with sutures. Dr. Orth may choose to use a space-maintaining product over the top of the graft to help restore the height and width of the space created by the tooth and bone loss, and into which new bone should grow. Once the surgery has healed, the alveolar ridge can be prepared for dental implant placement or conventional bridge.
A ridge augmentation procedure is typically performed in Dr. Orth‘s office under local anesthesia and conscious sedation. Below are examples of cosmetic gum augmentation surgery to show the benefits of the procedure to improve the appearance of the teeth and smile.
Gum Augmentation Cases Performed by Dr. Orth
Case 1. Gum augmentation to fill-in collapsed gums
Case 2. Gum Augmentation to Cover Exposed Implants